Horrifying rise in number of completely avoidable deaths | UK | News

Thousands more patients are dying due to a lack of treatment or timely care since pre-pandemic times, research has revealed.

A quarter of all deaths in England and Wales could be avoided through better treatment or prevention, according to a report based on official government figures. The shocking findings also showed there has been a spike in such preventable or avoidable deaths since 2019.

Some 10,000 extra people have died due to a lack of timely care since Covid – an increase of 10 per cent. This is a rise from 108,330 avoidable deaths in 2019 to 117,498 in 2022, which are the latest figures available.

Of the avoidable deaths in England and Wales in 2022, 65.1 per cent – more than two in three – could have been prevented, which equates to 81,792 deaths.

Meanwhile, 30.5 per cent of patients who died could have been given treatment, accounting for 43,820 deaths.

Fatalities were highest in some of the most deprived areas of the country, such as parts of Blackpool, Liverpool or Manchester.

Of the avoidable deaths that have occurred since the pandemic, 7,000 could have been prevented and 2,000 could have been treated had care been in place.

The research found most deaths were among pensioners aged over 65 – with falls and long A&E waits being partly to blame.

Last year, A&E waits were linked to 250 “extra” deaths every week.

Experts say the figures highlight a crisis in the NHS and social care.

Preventable conditions included falls, vaccine-preventable diseases – such as measles – lung cancer, liver cancer and skin cancer.

Treatable conditions included infections, breast cancer and testicular cancer. The figures were gathered for this newspaper by Cera, one of the UK’s leading tech-enabled healthcare providers, which aims to keep people out of hospital using preventative tech and AI.

Cera’s founder, former NHS innovation adviser Ben Maruthapp, believes the study is a wake-up call.

He said it highlights the urgent need for “better support at home, more widespread access to social care for all elderly and vulnerable people, and the rapid adoption of preventative technology and AI to prevent falls”.

Professor Carl Heneghan, director of Oxford Univer-sity’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, said: “In my role as an urgent care GP, I have recently seen ambulance delays I have never seen before.

“I’ve seen emergency ambulances which should arrive in 18 minutes taking an hour.

“Elderly people who suffer from a fall or have other serious problems are more likely to die with such delays.

“I have found it difficult to understand why there has been so little talk of these fundamental issues during the election debates.

“We are seeing treatment delays as if they don’t matter. We need to stop tolerating these extreme delays that are deadly.”

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